Howie on Kerry: DYKWIA?


Those of us on the right were looking forward to Howard Dean as the Democrat presidential nominee. National Review even put his picture on the cover with the caption, "Please nominate this man!" Doesn't look like that's going to work out, but the alternative could be just as much fun, because John Kerry is from Massachusetts, and Howie Carr of the Boston Herald has been watching him like a hawk since his days as Mike Dukakis's Lieutenant Governor.

In 1988, a friend gave me a mail subscription to the Boston Herald covering the run up to the presidential election. Two or three times a week, I got to read Howie Carr deflating the myth of Mike "Pee Wee" Dukakis and the "Massachusetts Miracle". Now that Kerry is the front runner, we get a foretaste of what we can expect if Kerry wins the nomination. From the New York Post last Thursday, here's Howie on Kerry and his dealings with hoi polloi:

ONE of the surest ways to get the phones ringing on any Massachusetts talk-radio show is to ask people to call in and tell their John Kerry stories. The phone lines are soon filled, and most of the stories have a common theme: our junior senator pulling rank on one of his constituents, breaking in line, demanding to pay less (or nothing) or ducking out before the bill arrives.

The tales often have one other common thread. Most end with Sen. Kerry inquiring of the lesser mortal: "Do you know who I am?"

And now he's running for president as a populist. His first wife came from a Philadelphia Main Line family worth $300 million. His second wife is a pickle-and-ketchup heiress. ...

Kerry is, in fact, a Brahmin - his mother was a Forbes, from one of Massachusetts' oldest WASP families. The ancestor who wed Ralph Waldo Emerson's daughter was marrying down.

At the risk of engaging in ethnic stereotyping, Yankees have a reputation for, shall we say, frugality. And Kerry tosses around quarters like they were manhole covers. In 1993, for instance, living on a senator's salary of about $100,000, he managed to give a total of $135 to charity.

Yet that same year, he was somehow able to scrape together $8,600 for a brand-new, imported Italian motorcycle, a Ducati Paso 907 IE. He kept it for years, until he decided to run for president, at which time he traded it in for a Harley-Davidson like the one he rode onto "The Tonight Show" set a couple of months ago as Jay Leno applauded his fellow Bay Stater. ...

In the Senate, his record of his constituent services has been lackluster, and most of his colleagues, despite their public support, are hard-pressed to list an accomplishment. Just last fall, a Boston TV reporter ambushed three congressmen with the question, name something John Kerry has accomplished in Congress. After a few nervous giggles, two could think of nothing, and a third mentioned a baseball field, and then misidentified Kerry as "Sen. Kennedy."

Many of his constituents see him in person only when he is cutting them in line - at an airport, a clam shack or the Registry of Motor Vehicles. One talk-show caller a few weeks back recalled standing behind a police barricade in 2002 as the Rolling Stones played the Orpheum Theater, a short limousine ride from Kerry's Louisburg Square mansion.

The caller, Jay, said he began heckling Kerry and his wife as they attempted to enter the theater. Finally, he said, the senator turned to him and asked him the eternal question.

"Do you know who I am?"

"Yeah," said Jay. "You're a gold-digger."

John Kerry. First he looks at the purse.

Sadly, the Boston Herald keeps its columnists under online lock-and-key, so we have to hope that Howie's columns about Gigolo John are syndicated or otherwise made available on the web, like this one found on

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 8, 2004 10:41 PM.

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